Search
  • Staci Sweet

The Reconfiguration of the Criminal Justice System

I hadn’t even finished my morning coffee when I logged into the Gram and the first post I see was from Shaun King, civil rights activist, bestselling author, co-founder of the Real Justice PAC, and in my opinion, the President of the Black Delegation, which stated,


‘The other day, the Supreme Court decided, in a 6-3 vote, that evidence of innocence is not enough to have a guilty verdict overturned for a person who is convicted of a crime, even if they were sentenced to death.’ - @SonofBaldwin [1]


If it weren’t on Mr. King’s page I would have questioned the validity. But the Washington Post confirmed it in an article written by Radley Balko, which stated that the late Justice Scalia wrote that,


“The Constitution…does not prevent the government from executing a person who new evidence indicates might be “actually innocent” — that is, someone with the potential to legally demonstrate they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted.” [2]

When I read that my heart sank, and inwardly I began to reach out to God. Immediately, He reminded me of Jesus.


Post Humorous Exonerations


For those who may not know, Jesus was wrongfully convicted of a crime, four to be exact; two felony charges of Criminal Impersonation and Felony Tax Evasion, and two misdemeanors, Blasphemy and Destruction of Property. I talk about this extensively in my ebook, 'Crime, Criminals, and Redemption: What the Bible Says About Crime and Those Who Commit Them’, though I will say here, while Jesus awaited execution by crucifixion, He too was a death row inmate who was not only wrongfully executed, but was also post humorously exonerated. [3]


The sad part is that of the 2,500 inmates awaiting execution [4], the likelihood that a large percentage are innocent is highly plausible. The even sadder part is that this decision was made by 6 individuals, with LIFETIME APPOINTMENTS, who determined that NEW evidence WON’T make a difference in their appeals. The saddest part is that their decision has forced these cases to be RETRIED in the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, which today, is a dangerous, dangerous, dangerous place.


Though I have no legal experience, so you have every right to tune me out, IN MY OPINION, what they’re basically saying, BY DEFAULT, is that all previously overturned rulings need to be RETRIED as well because those defendants shouldn’t have had the opportunity to appeal and thus, be proven innocent. It’s kinda like reparative justice in reverse. Case and point. Legalized marijuana cases which are being expunged in 25 states.[5] I digress but this ruling indirectly has implications which potentially will affect the lower courts; simply because 6 Supreme Justices decided that the Constitution DOES NOT prevent the government from executing a person who new evidence indicates might be “actually innocent.” The highest court in the land determined that the Constitution stated that we don’t have an obligation to extend potential justice to people who can potentially, “… legally demonstrate [that] they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted.” And please know that I say that with no malice; only because one of my hands is trying to wrap my head around their decision while the other is on the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself was post humorously exonerated.


The Decision to Reconfigure


As I began to think about, I saw something that I don’t think these Chief Justices considered. I don’t think that they considered the fact that they have, inadvertently DECIDED themselves out of a job. What I mean by that is their sole purpose is...


to ensure, ‘…the American people [receive] the promise of equal justice under law and…’[6] to interpret the Constitution.

Hence, they have the ability to overturn and/or rule against what was supposed to have been proven in the lower courts. Why do I need them if THEY THEMSELVES HAVE DECIDED they are not needed. Especially since they’ve determined that the decision rests in the lower courts where guilt was proven, then WHY, respectfully, would I need you?


It is my understanding that the Supreme Court exists because the lower courts may have, perhaps, made the wrong decision. I thought those Justices were there to oversee the lower courts and could, in fact, DECIDE AGAINST a decision. This decision, TO ME, means that it doesn’t matter what type of case comes before them because the lower court decision is final. And though it was decided in a matter involving executions, ALL CASES inherently are the same at its core. Meaning, innocent, guilty, in favor or not in favor, if a lower court judge decides that he or she is not in favor of a manufacturer’s malfunctioning product that caused an injury, that same manufacturer’s APPEAL will ultimately make no difference because the lower court determined their guilt (i.e. wrongness). So while this decision was intended to heavily impact marginally disadvantaged communities and communities of color, this decision will hit the BIG BOYS even harder.



Yes, my dear readers, the Supreme Court just changed the criminal justice system as we know it.


Those 6 Justices just reconfigured the courts.

I use the term reconfigure because NOW all the lower court judges have to do is rule JUSTLY. Justly, as in without fear or favor of wealth and/or color which means that just like that, whatever they decide, stands. Because again, “The Constitution…does not prevent the government from [CONSIDERING]…new evidence that [might indicate a person and/or corporation]…might be “actually innocent” — that is, someone with the potential to legally demonstrate they did not commit the crime [or who, for instance, committed a wrongdoing by manufacturing a faulty product] for which they were convicted [or for which it was determined they are at fault].” And though I adjusted the text, the same rule applies. And if it hadn’t, it’s quite possible that it will in the future.


And though this was quite possibly meant to be a devastating setback for people of color, for those of us with eyes of faith, all I see is that what…


“…[they] meant [for] evil against [a marginally oppressed people]…[God] meant…for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20

Not saying that God was behind their decision, but Dr. Jerry Savelle prophesied that this would be the year of DIVINE ACCELERATION for God’s people. Clearly this decision just demonstrated that this also applies to the American Legal System because when you think about it, the Supreme 6 just put justice in the hands of the lower courts where more women and people of color are being elected.



Copyright 2022 © Real Issues Publishing®. All rights reserved.


Sources


1) “Instagram.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CeYwzWHru8e/.

2) Balko, Radley. “Opinion | In Death Row Case, the Supreme Court Says Guilt Is Now beside the Point.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 May 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/01/arizona-death-row-supreme-court-shinn-innocence/.

3) Sweet, Staci. ‘Crime, Criminals, and Redemption: What the Bible Says About Crime and Those Who Commit Them.’ Dallas, Real Issues Publishing, June. 2021.

4) “Death Row Overview.” Death Penalty Information Center, 12 Sept. 2021, https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/death-row/overview.

5) “50-State Comparison: Marijuana Legalization, Decriminalization, Expungement, and Clemency.” Collateral Consequences Resource Center, https://ccresourcecenter.org/state-restoration-profiles/50-state-comparison-marijuana-legalization-expungement/.

6) “About the Supreme Court.” Home - Supreme Court of the United States, https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx.